Jim Orred’s practical guide to travel

A few weeks ago I posted my 9 tips of long-haul air travel, it was one of the most read and commented on posts here so far. Recently Jim Orred a wise and oft-travelling friend who I respect alot posted his tips for travel.

The whole list is way different to mine, and he has done a good bit more travelling that I have, I posted a few of the most interesting on the list;

  1. Photograph all your plastic loyalty cards! Or put them into either Passbook or Google Wallet on your phone. Why carry a stack of plastic?

I use a german app mobilepocket and 1password for this and now carry just a couple of bank cards in my iPhone case.

Packing: start with the right luggage. It’s like your car and house combined. My current favorite is the Travel-Pro Crew series. And they can be repaired if a handle or wheel breaks. Trust me, quality luggage is worth the high price. Often you can score at least 60% off at department store sales.

I’m a big believer in luggage (as my wife can attest) and it’s way I spent literally years1 pondering over which carry on bag to buy as you can read here. I had a good friend invest in the whole thule set of luggage. We have ended up with a couple of pieces of north face and samsonite (from TK Maxx) that have been worth every penny. One tip to remember when buying luggage, especially carry-on luggage at outlet-type stores such as TK Maxx, is that as luggage allowances are constantly adjusted, full-price retailers sell the now non-check-in-friendly bags off to bulk outlets.

My best-kept secret, that is truly magic, and only my wife knew about until now: a small container of baby powder… I use it for two things: I dust the insides of my socks…and I douse one other place, where most humans sweat…I’m going to leave it to
your imagination.

This is a good tip, I’ve been using Gold Bond ever since my brother-in-law showed it to me, great for warm climates and sticky plane rides!

Finally, Jim shares a tip, I’d never thought of before which came out of his experience flying from NYC on the original 9/11;

Email a copy of your itinerary to your immediate family members. On the original 9/11, my flight was one of the last to leave NYC just minutes before the first plane hit the twin towers. We were forced down in Traverse City. Cherry capitol of America. But all mobile phone circuits were jammed for hours. I had no way to tell my wife, waiting in Hawaii, that I was OK, and she needlessly worried if I had been a casualty. She had no idea of which flights I was or was not on.

Go check it out for yourself here

  1. Yes, that was too long to ponder

“The temptation of this age is to look good without being good.”

Brennan Manning

José González | New Sounds

José González: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

“Everybody thinks about changing humanity. Nobody thinks about changing himself.”



Mumford and Sons Live | Cape Town January 2016

It’s been a few years since a bigger name in music has come to Cape Town. For a while we had U2, Kings of Leon and Coldplay one after the other..

After a trip to see Beatenberg this weekend (who just supported Mumford in Scotland), where we had to pay the entrance to see George Ezra (who wasn’t so bad), Rachel (my wife) wondered whether Mumford would make it to South Africa any time soon?

Turned out to be a premonition, they just announced they will play in January and for just under £30 (R500) too!

South Africa 2016

Fri 29 Jan – Cape Town, Grand Parade
Wed 03 Feb – Durban, Botanic Gardens
Sat 06 Feb – Pretoria, Monument Amphitheatre

Tickets go on sale 3rd September at www.computicket.com.

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The Other Worldiness of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a central theme for Christianity, but in trying to talk about it at any length we seem to tie ourselves in knots. A few simple sentences can call out the character of forgiveness in abstract but when these heavenly ideals come into contact with highly emotionally charged earthly realities, the simplicities soon break down.
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The Way not just the Truth

For those of you who know me, you will know I am not a proponent for thoughtless Christianity, but for those of us who are inclined to the analytical, we need reminders that we think well in order to enact well and I’ve found Francis of Assisi to be a helpful voice to encourage me;

Those who have analyzed the writings of Francis have noted that he uses the word doing rather than understanding at a ratio of 175 times to 5. Heart is used 42 times to 1 use of mind. Love is used 23 times as opposed to 12 uses of truth. Mercy is used 26 times while intellect is used only 1 time.
This is a very new perspective that is clearly different from (and an antidote to) the verbally argumentative Christianity of his time, and from the highly academic theology that would hold sway from then on. Francis took prayer on the road and into the activity of life itself, which is why the Franciscans popularized the portable, small psalter that we still call the breviary (brevis or short handbook). – Richard Rohr on Francis

The loudest voices in Christianity often seem to be ones advocating for the ditches on either side of the metaphorical road. Of course, we are tempted to be drawn to one ditch or another, but attempting to argue there is only one ditch is what has led to a fragmented in-fighting bride. Our Spiritual formation and discipleship would do well if we immersed ourselves in voices that call us not only to what we already believe and practise but also to the other side.
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How Evangelical zeal actually says the Bible is not enough

This week Scot McKnight wrote an interesting piece worth reading here. Scot Argues that the characteristic of zeal amongst evangelicals works in two ways;

1. To challenge the sufficiency of scripture by creating identities around extra-biblical boundary markers

For example, the bible says not to be drunk, some evangelical circles may add to this by affirming that drinking alcohol at all is unadvisable if not sinful. In this way although they may stop short of calling their extra-biblical additions sinful it is clear this behaviour dictates whether you are in or out of this particular sub-set of the Church.

2. Zeal creates immunity to accusation

How can someone be mad at someone who, in their enthusiasm, goes above and beyond (a trait the protestant work ethic has always held in high regard)? Scot McKnight argues that this is motivated ultimately by a fear of freedom, a fear that if we left it to the average believer to read the scripture in the presence of Holy Spirit, the outcome may not be the extra-biblical boundary markers the denomination or sub-group was formed around.
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New Sounds | Music for the Weekend

Here’s a collection of sounds from around the world that you may never have heard before.

A few radio stations (in the US especially) run ‘live lounges’ and here are some bands you’ve likely never heard of.

I doubt everyone will like all of these but you might find something that you can enjoy this weekend (these are from KEXP in Seattle );

Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits | Zimbabwe

Generationals | USA

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Friday Link List | 13th August 2015

Every Friday I’m posting links to things I’ve read this week that I think you might find interesting too, next week I want to start sharing some links readers of the site are finding interesting…If you read something you think should be featured here submit it here, starting your message LINK LIST SUGGESTION.

Typhoons and Travel

As you will have seen this week has been a little slow on the blogging, we travelled back from three weeks in Taiwan and got stuck in Typhoon Soudelor, fortunately we were in the south in Tainan and didn’t experience too much danger.


Kickstarter Friends

A couple of friends are dreaming up exciting projects that you might want to consider being a part of by contributing up front on their kickstarter and then receiving their final products once they’re done.

Andrew Breitenberg AKA Selah, producing the Book of Mark as an overflow of his parallel bible platform connecting beautiful images to scripture. See more here

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 09.16.55

Liana and Jason Stone who we’ve been fortunate enough to play music with in the past are going to put together a new album which will be great. See more here


Floyd McClung blogging

Speaking of Selah, our friend Floyd McClung who is on sabbatical this year in the US posted two worthwhile posts this past week;

  • A Guest post on Selah / ‘to pause’ from Mark Buckley
  • Jesus Loves Africa – This simply articulates so much of why we are based in south africa, and the way we feel called to live out following Jesus here;

Sally and I feel called to give the rest of our lives to invest in the leaders and the church in Africa. Why? Because the church is the hope of Africa. Every African leader needs friends who believe in them – and who will invest in their lives through friendship and discipleship.

This calling has ‘caught’ with us in a deep way..

Writing on an iPad

Although I don’t own an iPad anymore, I’m fascinated by a movement of people who are giving up computers and doing even complex computing tasks on an iPad. It does seem like writing could be one of its greatest strengths, read more on Tools an Toys here

Meteor Showers

Here are some pretty spectacular shots on Flickr of Meteor showers, just incredible


The Adventure you’ve been longing for

I like Allan Bevere’s post about needing more sense of adventure in western society, and how the gospel is intended to meet that inner desire..Read more here

Several months prior to departure he put the following ad in the London paper:

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.

Human beings long to give themselves to a great cause. It may not be a hazardous trip to the South Pole, but most human beings desire to be part of something that makes their lives count for something more than living the routine. We want our lives to be spent for something important.

Having made a trip to India and Taiwan this year, I can say there is some necessity to a book like this “Going Abroad: How to Answer the Call of Nature Anywhere in the World” – A Bathroom survival guide

At one end of the spectrum, there is the squat toilet. This may appear to be simply a porcelain hole in the ground with foot rests, but you can learn to use it.

. The problems at the other end of the spectrum involve high tech toilets in more advanced countries, particularly Japan. The important thing is to learn how to flush them without needing to call down to the hotel reception desk for assistance.

Read more here

Religion is inherently political

My old friend Arni Zachariassen from the Faroes wrote a great piece on The Religios being political.

I spent the last week trying to teach on discipleship to taiwanese college students, and this quote from Lindbeck sums up much of what I was trying to encourage them, to get inside the story;

“To become a Christian involves learning the story of Israel and of Jesus well enough to interpret and experience oneself and one’s world in its terms. A religion… molds and shapes the self and its world” (Lindbeck, 34).

Arni sums up the whole post brilliantly;

(1) politics are religious since they are reflections of what we believe and (2) secularism, despite advocating for a non-religious space, is religious because it is making implicit theological claims regarding the limits and place of religion.

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